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St. moritz 2017: a resounding success
It was late at night in Kangwonland, Korea on 31 May 2012, when St. Moritz found out that it had won the right to stage the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2017. Elected by the FIS Council with twelve votes against five, the Engadin resort triumphed against Åre, Sweden, by an absolute majority in the first ballot.
1710 days of preparation
More than four and a half years later, the St. Moritz 2017 Championships commenced with a festive ceremony on 6 February at Kulm Park in the centre of St. Moritz Dorf. Renewed in time for the event, Kulm Park had also hosted the ceremonies during the 1948 Olympic Winter Games almost seventy years earlier. Known as “Magic Snow – The Birth of a Passion,” the opening ceremony recounted the storied history of winter sports in the Upper Engadin Valley. It also saw the grand debut of Edy, the giant wooden skier and patron saint of Kulm Park that went on to become a fan favourite and a symbol of the event. The ceremony culminated in FIS President Gian Franco Kasper declaring the fifth edition of FIS World Championships in his hometown open. President Kasper was certain that the world would see a fantastic celebration of Alpine skiing across the entire region. During the years of preparation, the organising committee led by President Hugo Wetzel had worked tirelessly to ensure that the athletes had ideal conditions to deliver world class performances in their quest for gold. And President Kasper was proven right: What followed was thirteen days of action and excitement filling the tribunes and the town centre alike.
The vagaries of the weather
Thanks to its location at an elevation of 1800 metres, St. Moritz prides itself on 300 days of sunshine. Besides the sport, however, it was the weather that became a main topic of discussion during the first week of the championships. Snowfall, wind and fog often cause timetable changes in ski racing, yet it is because of a special Engadin Valley phenomenon that every ski fan now has heard of the “Maloja snake”. These thick, longish and particularly low-lying clouds come about when warm air rises up the slopes of the Maloja Pass and they generally settle down in the valley – which is good for landscape photographers, but bad for downhill racing. After the resulting schedule modifications that led to the so-called Super Sunday with both the men’s and ladies’ downhill competitions on the same day, the rest of the championships enjoyed the valley’s trademark sunshine and blue skies.
Sweet swiss success
For the home nation, the championships started well with the Swiss team scoring three medals in the first two ladies’ contests, a success that visibly set the mood of the event. With nearly 40,000 excited fans gathered in the Salastrains Stadium and along the courses, the Super Sunday became one of the absolute highlights, especially as the Swiss speed king Beat Feuz claimed the men’s downhill gold. All in all, the Swiss won seven medals, their best result since the team’s golden years in the 1980s. No wonder that Urs Lehmann, President of Swiss-Ski, later described St. Moritz 2017 as “a wonderful chapter in the history of Swiss ski racing.”
The superstars
During the 11 competitions, many nations had a chance to shine. As many as 12 nations won medals while atop the medals’ table, Austria edged Switzerland with nine medals thanks to a two-medal performance on the final day of action. Only Austrian megastar Marcel Hirscher earned three medals with two gold and one silver, cementing his place among ski legends. Several athletes won two medals, including Canadian Cowboy Erik Guay, who at the age of 36 became the oldest medallist in FIS World Championships history after winning gold in the super-G and silver in the downhill. Other double medallists were American young star Mikaela Shiffrin with her third consecutive gold in the ladies’ slalom and her maiden silver in the giant slalom; French Tessa Worley, who earned two gold medals, one in the team event and the second in the giant slalom; and Swiss Wendy Holdener, who won the alpine combined and took silver in the slalom.
Longines Ambassador of Elegance Mikaela Shiffrin, winner of the ladies’ slalom at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 2017 in St. Moritz.
New technology insights
St. Moritz 2017 was entirely produced in high definition and broadcast on multiple platforms to provide the global TV viewers with an enriched experience. EBU, the media and marketing rights holder, reported that the World Championships was shown live in 57 countries. A novelty during St. Moritz 2017 was the launch by Longines of its new timekeeping and data handling technology. The game-changing Longines Live Alpine Data system was introduced during the downhill and super-G races. Consisting of a chip attached to the skier’s boot equipped with a radar and motion sensor, the system enables real-time continuous measurement of the athlete’s speed, acceleration and deceleration, the time it takes to reach 100 km/h and an analysis of jumps. Initially incorporated in TV graphics, the technology will later be made available to the athletes for performance analysis. Longines Ambassador of Elegance Mikaela Shiffrin is excited: “The new Longines Live Alpine Data technology is really cool, as it gives a different perspective on the sport for the public watching, allowing them to see all the intricacies and details that make one single turn or jump fast or slow. It is also a new way to show athletes the faster line. As athletes, we are always analysing video and comparing lines to decide which one is fast, especially in speed events, but side by side videos do not always show exactly what you need to see.”
An unforgettable ski festival
During St. Moritz 2017, approximately 165,000 spectators attended the races and the opening ceremony. In addition, estimated 30,000 visited Kulm Park that hosted the medal ceremonies and offered free concerts every night from top acts such as 77 Bombay Street and Bastian Baker, while the hospitality houses were buzzing with activity during the evening festivities. In closing the Championships on 19 February, President Kasper was visibly pleased: "The St. Moritz organisers did a world class job of hosting these World Championships. The enthusiasm of the officials, volunteers and spectators with their great vocal support created a fantastic atmosphere that gave all the athletes from a record 76 participating nations the ideal backdrop to shine.” Hugo Wetzel, President of St. Moritz 2017 was equally satisfied: "We are very proud of the last two weeks. Our volunteers, staff and the thousands of fans made the World Championships a massive success and hopefully unforgettable for the hundreds of competing athletes.”
To celebrate the partnership between the Swiss watchmaking brand and St. Moritz, ­Longines has launched an exclusive edition offered in both men’s and ladies’ models: the Conquest St. Moritz.
Longines and st. moritz
Longines is proud to be the Official Watch of the famous Alpine ski resort of St. Moritz. The Swiss watchmaking brand is also partnering several events being held in the spectacular, famous resort in Grisons.
Longines, timekeeper in st. moritz since 1894
The links between the Swiss watchmaking brand and this town in the Engadin valley date back over a century. Indeed, in 1894, Longines sent two timepieces fitted with a proprietary hand-wound movement to St. Moritz to serve as timekeeping devices. This marked the start of regular partnerships for timekeeping activities, particularly during Alpine skiing, gymnastics and horse racing events. Back in 1954, Longines became the Official Timekeeper of St. Moritz.
A partnership marked by elegance
In December 2015, Longines and St. Moritz announced a new partnership naming the Swiss watchmaking brand as the Alpine resort's Official Watch. To this end, Longines clocks have been installed at various strategic locations in the town whereby the Tourist Office, the Swiss Ski School and the ski lifts are now featuring the colours of the brand with the winged hourglass. Furthermore, Longines and St. Moritz both share the common values of elegance, tradition and performance, which they promote thanks to their global influence. This partnership represents a continuation of the Swiss brand's long-standing sports timekeeping activities. Longines is also partnering Alpine skiing events and horse racing competitions being held in this spectacular setting in the heart of the Grisons Alps.
The great white circus
Longines has been present on the snowy slopes since 1924. Since 2007, the Swiss watchmaking brand has been the Official Timekeeper and Partner of the International Ski Federation (FIS). As such, it is responsible for timekeeping at all the events which form part of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup and FIS Alpine Ski World Championships. In March 2016, St. Moritz had the privilege of hosting the World Cup finals, while in 2017, the World Championships took place on the magnificent slopes of Corviglia. Paying tribute to this major sporting event, Longines launched an exclusive edition from the Conquest Classic collection offered in both men’s and ladies’ models.
Longines speed check
As part of its close collaboration with the Swiss ski resort St. Moritz and as a token of its sports timekeeping expertise, Longines invites skiers and snowboarders to test their limits and give free rein to their need for speed on a specially prepared and secured piste on the snowy slopes of Corviglia. Enjoy your fifteen minutes of Alpine fame by racing against the clock and trying to beat all the records. The Longines Speed Check will capture each participant’s achievements on camera for posterity, while giving them the measure of their performance.
White turf
St. Moritz was the trailblazer for winter sports and soon after skiers started speeding down the slopes. Its frozen lake was then invested and transformed into the most unique racecourse on earth. 110 years later, snow still flies from the hooves of the racehorses, spectators hold their breath while sportsmen aim at the post, keeping their eyes on the clock: a tradition now known as the White Turf.
The first horse race ever held in St. Moritz was actually not staged on the lake and its horses had no riders. Instead, they were pulling skiers. The contestants of the 1906 inaugural skikjöring event left the center of St. Moritz, racing to a nearby village around 5 kilometers away and back. The fastest horse and skier took just over 20 minutes to complete the challenge, which took place at night. The following year, the Skikjörers opted for the lake as their new speed ring; trotting races with sleighs were also added to the program. Then came flat racing in 1911. The program extended, the word spread, horses started coming from further and further away, with their team targeting the three consecutive Sundays of racing held each February. Its competition and exclusive hospitality have made the event rebranded as the “White Turf”, a world acclaimed destination. One where all competitions are now timed by Longines. In November 2016, the Swiss watchmaker announced indeed a new partnership with the St. Moritz Racing Association, which saw Longines became the Main Partner, the Official Watch and Timekeeper of the St. Moritz Racing Association, as well as the Official Timekeeper and Watch of the White Turf St. Moritz. As part of this agreement, the brand was also appointed Title Partner of the featured horse races of the event: The Grand Prix Longines and the Longines Grosser Preis von St. Moritz. “Longines has a common history with St. Moritz, dating back to 1894, when the brand provided the sports resort with chronographs enabling to time to the 1/5th of a second.”, commented Juan Carlos Capelli, Vice President of Longines and Head of International Marketing when the newest terms of the agreement were announced. “Since then, we have been even more committed to timekeeping sports competitions in this exceptional venue, such as white turf races in the early sixties. As we attach importance to tradition, one of the key values of our brand, we are particularly delighted to reinforce our involvement in white turf events in St. Moritz, as we will serve as Timekeeper for all the racing days. It is a source of great pride to have won Longines as a new, third main sponsor for the White Turf St. Moritz. Backed by three strong main sponsors, the 110-year old history of success in international racing sports can continue at a top level, and the fame of St. Moritz and the entire region as the Mecca of equestrian sports will even be enhanced”, added Thomas Walther, President of the management board of the Racing Association St. Moritz. The White Turf definitely offers a spectacular show in a majestic and charming setting, nestled among the snow-capped peaks – no wonder this event has become one of the highlights of the cosmopolitan winter sporting calendar. Although it has become an annual fixture for many celebrities, racehorse owners, trainers and jockeys form around the world, it still retains its popularity among local people as a festive treat.